Amelia Douglass takes out Young Rider Final at Aquis
The opening class on the Aquis Arena on Finals weekend at the Aquis Champions Tour was the Chatham Park Young Rider Tour Final. This class also served as the first round of the 2019 Stal Tops Series, so the stakes were high with $2,000 Aquis prize money along with Stal Tops Bonus prize money of $4,000 on offer.
To qualify for this final, combinations were ranked on their performances over two qualifying rounds with only the top 30 ranked combinations invited into the final.
The Stal Tops Australian Young Rider Series is a series made possible due to the generosity of Jan Tops and Edwina Tops-Alexander, who sponsor this series to encourage and reward the best Young Riders in Australia. The first of the four event series was held today in conjunction with the Chatham Park Young Rider Tour Final at Aquis. The other three events in the series will be held at the following venues.
- Willinga Park in September
- Boneo Cup in November
- Summer Classic in December
Today’s final was conducted under heavy skies and the early start meant there was a thick dew on the course, however, it did little to compromise the standard of jumping on this wonderful surface. It took a little while before we saw our first clear round, achieved by the tenth combination out, Jess Rice-Ward and CP Southern Cross, who finished fourth in this final last year.
The 1.40m fence height proved to be quite a challenge for the field, with many combinations taking multiple rails. With only six combinations left to ride, we were still looking at just a two-way jump-off, however, a late surge in clear rounds meant that the gathering crowd could enjoy a tantalising five-way jump-off. The fastest of these five clears was recorded by last combination out, Tess McInerney and Alpha Centauri in 67.46 seconds.
Tess McInerney and Alpha Centauri
Jamie Priestley and Kolora Stud Optimus
Amelia Douglass and Cassis Z Ten Halven
Riding in their original order, first out in the jump-off was Jess Rice-Ward and CP Southern Cross, who took a single rail to start a nervous wait. Next to go was Sophie Smith and Bellhaven Jazz. They went clear in 43.14 seconds to take the lead and set down the challenge to the last three combinations.
Sophie Smith and Bellhaven Jazz
Jamie Priestley and Kolora Stud Optimus were next. They went clear almost 2 seconds faster than Smith to take the lead. This situation did not remain for long and the NSW based combination of Amelia Douglass and Cassis Z Ten Halven delivered a brilliant clear – almost a second quicker again.
It was all up to the last combination Tess McInerney and Alpha Centauri. Nothing less than a clear round in no more than 40.45 seconds was going to be enough for her to take the title. The crowd were hushed as she started the course and with six of the eight fences successfully negotiated, she looked well on her way to victory. However, it was not to be. A rail down at the seventh meant that victory had slipped from her grasp and she had to be content with finishing fifth.
Congratulations to Amelia Douglass and Cassis Z Ten Halven for taking the win. Although they have been partners for just five weeks, they have come together very quickly to form a successful partnership. It is interesting to note that both horse and rider competed in this tour at the 2018 Aquis championships. While Douglass finished unplaced, Cassis Z Ten Halven actually won this tour last year with Jessie O’Connell in the saddle.
The top eight placegetters in this class were:
|PLACE||RIDER||HORSE||$||STAL TOPS $|
|1st||Amelia Douglass||Cassis Z Ten Halven||$745||$1,500|
|2nd||Jamie Priestley||Kolora Stud Optimus||$450||$1,000|
|3rd||Sophie Smith||Bellhaven Jazz||$320||$600|
|4th||Jess Rice Ward||CP Southern Cross||$200||$400|
|5th||Tess McInerney||Alpha Centauri||$125||$300|
|6th||Samantha Dernee||TP All Class||$80||$200|